Have a cauliflower but are not sure how to cut it into florets? It is easy and quick! Here is my step by step guide for how to cut a cauliflower.

A head of cauliflower on a cutting board with a knife.

how to cut a head of cauliflower

Buying pre-cut cauliflower florets is a great time saver in the kitchen, but what if you have a whole head of cauliflower? How do you break it down into florets? It is so much easier than you might think and here is the method I use when making all of my favorite cauliflower recipes

Step 1:

Cut your cauliflower into quarters.

Place your cauliflower in the middle of a cutting board and use a large knife (I like to use a chef’s knife) to cut the head into four equal parts. It should look something like this.

A cauliflower cut into quarters on a cutting board with a knife.

Step 2:

Cut out the core of the cauliflower.

Lay each quarter on a flat side and carefully cut out the hard center. I use my chef’s knife for this too, but you might find using a smaller knife (like a paring knife) to be easier for this part.

A hand holding a piece of cauliflower and using a knife to cut out the core of it.

Step 3:

Break apart florets.

You can just do this with your hands usually but you might need to trim an extra long floret stem with your knife.

Cauliflower florets on a cutting board with a knife and the core of the cauliflower next to them.

Step 4:

Wash and use.

Sometimes pre-cut cauliflower florets are washed and ready to be dumped into a dish. Even if your head of cauliflower was washed before, cutting, be sure the give the florets a good rinse. Bugs and dirt can get lodged into to the make crevices of the cauliflower during the growing and harvesting process and you will want to be sure those don’t end up in your dinner.

cauliflower florets in a strainer.

How to store cauliflower florets

If you are cutting your cauliflower for future use, you might be wondering how to store it so it doesn’t go bad before you get to eat it.

To enjoy fresh

  • After washing florets, be sure to shake off extra water or pat dry.
  • Place in an air-tight container with as little air as possible.
  • Place in fridge.

TIP: Cutting your cauliflower will cause it to start browning faster than it would as a head. So if you are prepping your florets, try to use them up in a couple of days.

To freeze

Stocking your freezer with cauliflower florets is a great way to prevent food waste and perfect for enjoying cauliflower all year long.

To prep the cauliflower for the freezer, you will need to blanch the florets. This will help the cauliflower hold onto its flavor and nutrients during the freezing process.

 To do this,

  • fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  • Once boiling, carefully add the cauliflower florets.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Quickly remove cauliflower from boiling water and run under very cold water to stop the cooking process. If possible, place the blanched cauliflower in a bowl of ice water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
  • Shake off extra water or carefully pat dry with a towel.
  • Place in a single layer on a plate or small baking sheet and place in freezer. This step will help the florets from freezing in clumps.
  • Once frozen, remove florets from freezer and transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and return to freezer.
  • Enjoy for months ahead.

Delicious Cauliflower Recipes

So now you know how to cut down a head of cauliflower into perfect florets! But how do you put that freshly cut cauliflower to use? Here are some of our favorite cauliflower recipes that you and your family are going to adore.